Thin hair could be a sign of illness or even just hunger

Thin hair could be the result of anaemia, stress or even just hunger according to the latest expert claims.

Thick hair - World News - Marie Claire
Thick hair - World News - Marie Claire
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Thin hair could be the result of anaemia, stress or even just hunger according to the latest expert claims.

It's the one part of our body that we desperately want to put on weight - but is thin hair the fault of genetics or are there other factors involved?

‘The state of our hair is a visible barometer of our internal health. Illness - and certain medications - cause locks to lose their lustre, becoming dull limp and fine-looking,' says leading trichologist Philip Kingsley.

So whilst we may be blaming our mothers for not inheriting that Cheryl ‘because I'm worth it' bounce, thin hair could be linked to health issues such as anaemia, stress, or an eating disorder.

Anaemia Anaemia sufferers are more likely to have thinner hair as reduced red blood cells mean that less oxygen is carried to the scalp.

Eating Disorders Reduced food intake prematurely stops the ‘growing phase' of the hair cycle, making blood flow sluggish to the scalp. This can cause hair to lose shine and volume and can even make it fall out.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome This is where women have an excess of male hormones, which can trigger thinning of the hair at the front and top of the scalp.

Thyroid problems Hair loss can be the first sign of a thyroid disorder. The wrong level of thyroid hormone affects the metabolism and the hair growth cycle.

Stress We all know that stress can cause hair to go grey. This is because hormones produced by the body during periods of stress prevent the absorption of vitamins needed for pigmentation.

Severe stress can also lead to losing hair altogether. Alopecia, where the immune system attacks the hair cells, is often linked to emotional stress.

‘Whatever the cause, hair loss can have a profound effect on self-esteem, triggering depression and so, ironically, hindering recovery. It is by no means a shallow act of vanity for someone in the throes of ill-health to worry about their hair' says Kingsley.

However the good news is that there is a lot you can do to encourage thicker hair growth. Kingsley suggests getting plenty of nutrients, including iron and protein, as well as getting plenty of sleep and keeping stress to a minimum (as far as possible!).


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